Mexican police patrol in a street of Culiacán, state of Sinaloa, Mexico, on October 17, 2019, after heavily armed gunmen in four-by-four trucks fought an intense battle with Mexican security forces.Rashide Frias / AFP / Getty
- On Thursday, Mexican forces briefly apprehended drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s son Ovidio Guzman in Culiacán. He’s wanted in the United States on drug trafficking charges.
- But Mexican security forces were quickly overwhelmed by cartel soldiers, who attacked with heavy weapons and set up road blockades, using burning vehicles.
- To prevent more casualties, Guzman was returned to the cartel soldiers. But in doing so, the government conveyed a message that it was no longer in control, one expert said.
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The Mexican city of Culiacán descended into chaos on Thursday, after security forces briefly captured drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s son Ovidio Guzman.
Ovidio Guzmán Lopez released. From a PR standpoint alone, this was a total disaster – the slow drip of info, the photos of Guzmán in custody, the government statement… just terrifying how badly authorities handled it pic.twitter.com/syJwtPQHGy
— Stephen Woodman (@Stephentwoodman)
October 18, 2019
After apprehending him, the Mexican armed forces were quickly overwhelmed by a larger number of cartel gunman, who attacked with machine guns, snipers, and impeded the security forces by using burning vehicles to block roads.
To prevent any further casualties, they released Guzman.
The heavy gunfight took place in broad daylight. The skies over Culiacán filled with black smoke. It was described as a war zone.
Here’s what it was like.